Friday 6 July 2012

Looking forward to Parsifal at Bayreuth (II)

An apt metaphor for and precursor to Monsalvat?

Our hearts are thrilled with compassion, for it is old Jehovah himself who is making ready to die. We have known him so well, from his cradle in Egypt … We saw him bid farewell to those companions of his childhood, the obelisks and sphinxes of the Nile, to become a little god-king in Palestine to a poor nation of shepherds … We saw him move to Rome … he obtained power and, from the heights of the Capitol, ruled the city and the world, urbem et orbem. … We have seen him purify himself, spiritualise himself still more, become paternal, compassionate, the benefactor of the human race, a philanthropist … But nothing can save him!
Do you not hear the bell? Down on your knees! The sacrament is being administered to a dying God!

(Heinrich Heine, ‘Of Germany since Luther,’ in Revue des Deux-Mondes, 1834, IV, 408)

What might be revealed in His place?

I do not believe in God, but in godliness, which is revealed in a Jesus without sin.
(Cosima Wagner's Diaries, 20 September 1879)

Much about church and state; he says, 'For me Christianity has not yet arrived, and I am like the early Christians, awaiting Christ’s return.' – But in the search for ideality, he adds, things look different!
 (Cosima Wagner's Diaries, 15 July 1879)

But how might they look different?
After breakfast he talks about philosophy and says that Kant found something eternal in his quiet avenue in Königsberg, an ideality of time and space, like Jesus in Galilee: 'My Kingdom is not of this world.'
(Cosima Wagner's Diaries, 31 January 1880)

Perhaps that points us to an answer, perhaps not; yet, in a sense, it merely rephrases the question, which may be another reason we need Parsifal, in which such issues are dramatised rather than 'resolved'...